14 Men Tell Us How They Learned The Value Of Consent

Illustrated by: Amrita Marino.
It's a pretty straightforward concept: You don't put your hands on anyone without their permission. And the lack of a "no" does not automatically mean a "yes."
Yet, debates over consent seem to permeate our society. With the worrying statistics of sexual assault, it seems that we unfortunately still live in a world that, far too often, places the blame on victims instead of emphasising the importance of teaching people (mostly men) not to rape.
It's a world in which we jump to blaming women for "asking for it" instead of examining what men can do to avoid being a part of the problem. It's a shocking and terrifying fact that 11 rapes occur every hour in the UK.
It's time we started making consent a vital part of sex education — and emphasising how crucial it is to get an enthusiastic "yes" from a sexual partner before continuing. With something this important, it's better to be safe than sorry.
So we talked to 14 men (Refinery29 employees and readers) about how they learned the value of consent. Their answers are powerful, enlightening, and, hopefully, indicative of why sexual consent is so essential. Read ahead for their stories.
If you have experienced sexual violence of any kind, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999.

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